Byline: Ambrosia Brody
VENTURA — With a cool breeze at their backs and the sun warming their shoulders, more than 80 disabled veterans and their guests enjoyed a day on the water, as Anacapa Yacht Club members hosted the second annual Disabled Veterans Sail Day on July 14.
“It was an epic day,” said Bill Brayton, junior staff commodore at Anacapa YC. “It is so great just talking to people and hearing their stories about how good it was to get back on the water.”
The club partnered with Channel Islands Yacht Club and Pacific Corinthian Yacht Club, as well as local veteran organizations, to allow for a larger crowd to participate in the event. This year, 80 veterans and guests spent a day out on the water with 28 skippers, who volunteered their time and boats.
Brayton, who initially came up with the idea for the event and organized the sail when he was commodore in 2012, welcomed two vets and their guests aboard his 36-foot Catalina during the day sail. One guest took the helm from Brayton while the other veteran basked in the warm sun.
“This offers so much therapeutic value for the veterans,” he said.
Back at the docks, volunteers helped the veterans disembark and accompanied them to the yacht club’s patio, where sandwiches donated by Jersey Mike’s, handmade brownies, sushi rolls and cupcakes made by yacht club members awaited the sailors.
Disabled veterans from various wars and different generations shared their stories with one another as they munched on sandwiches and sweets during lunch. Some replayed the moment they spotted a pod of dolphins swimming near the boat.
Guests traveled from as far as Bakersfield to enjoy the day. Many served in World War II, the Korean War and the war in Afghanistan.
Ventura County Stand Down and Thousands Oaks Elks Lodge helped spread word of the day sail and provided goodie bags for the participants.
Brayton is already in the beginning stages of planning next year’s sail. “I want to give these veterans access (to something they may not have been able to enjoy for a long time) … and thank them for their sacrifices,” Brayton said. My goal is to make it bigger each year.”